Filming of Killers of the Flower in Pawhuska, OK

Welcome back to your unofficial report on the filming of the movie version of Killers of the Flower Moon, or Gray Horse as we have been told it will be called.  Nowadays the town of Pawhuska that you may have been familiar with is gone as construction continues to transform Kihekah Street into downtown Fairfax, Oklahoma in the 1920s. All of the buildings along the street have new facades in keeping with the era, telephone poles from the day have been put up and I understand they are bringing in dirt next week to line the road just like it was back in the day.  I also heard that rehearsals with all the actors for the street scenes have begun on location. Although Robert De Niro was flown to California after he hurt his leg, Leonardo DiCaprio and other actors have been seen all around town. Cars and trucks from the ‘20s are everywhere along with horses and wagons and on the west side of town semi-trucks filled with props and equipment are parked on every available piece of land. This is also the area where a train depot and tracks have been constructed and original railroad cars brought in. A giant tent city has also been erected just to the south of Kihekah along Highway 60.

I can only imagine what impact all of this activity is having on local businesses as summer approaches and word about the film spreads. In another sign of Pawhuska’s increasing popularity, I recently learned that an Irish pub is opening soon downtown adding to the growth of a town that seemed empty ten years ago.

As for Ree Drummond’s Mercantile, if you want to avoid the crowds mornings Monday through Thursday are still the best times to get a table without a long wait. By 11 there is usually an hour wait, by 12 that stretches to 2 hours, and of course the wait starts even earlier on the weekends.

Despite all this, none of the folks I have spoken with have any complaints except places to stay locally are hard to come by and lots of people are ending up at hotels in Tulsa. Many of these out-of-town visitors have told me how much they enjoy learning about the history of this part of the country through trips to area museums. Woolaroc tops everyone’s list of favorite attractions and with that said, this is a great time of year to go there when all of the animals are giving birth.

The museums in Ponca City where Governor Marland made his mark, the Dalton Museum in Coffeyville and Philbrook along with Gilgrease in Tulsa also provide insights into the past and I recommend them all.

I’ve got to go now but if you want to see what a 200-million-dollar movie looks like come to Pawhuska!

Till next time if I don’t see ya there I’ll see ya down the road…       

Danny Hodge

Welcome back. Over the years I’ve brought you stories of many legends along with the lives of other men and women who I hope have been as inspiring to you as they have been to me. Now here is the life story of another man who I recently learned has just left us. Daniel Allen Hodge was born on May 13,1932 in Perry, Oklahoma. The name Danny Hodge may not stand out to this generation but back in the early 1950s through the 60s. 70s and 80s his accomplishments made him world famous. He won a state title in wrestling while he was in high school and went on to wrestle for the University of Oklahoma where he went undefeated with a 46-0 record. He was never once taken off his feet during this time. Hodge won the Big Seven Conference Championship three times in a row at the NCAA championships. He became the only amateur wrestler to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated a world-wide magazine and by then he had taken up boxing as well and friends this guy was just getting started in life.  After college he joined the Navy, participated in three Olympics and began an 18-year career as a professional wrestler, becoming the headliner. During this time Hodge also won the 1958 Golden Gloves boxing championship in Chicago becoming a wrestling and a boxing professional at the same time which is totally unbelievable even in today’s world of super conditioned athletes. In addition to his many championships, he was also inducted into a dozen halls of fame and other honorary organizations around the world. At the age of 80 Hodge received well-earned special recognition at the Oklahoma State Capital for his many accomplishments.  Over the years he had developed a signature move which was the ability to crush an apple with one hand and he was still able to perform it at the time bringing everyone at the ceremony to their feet. Yes, the name Danny Hodge should always be remembered and by the way, despite all his success he never left Perry, Oklahoma.

Moving on, I’ve taken you to many places so now have your passports ready as we head to the world’s lowest lying country.  There’s a reason for this trip to the Maldives, or as it is officially known the Republic of Maldives, and that will come later.  The country ‘s 115 miles of islands sit southwest of India in the Indian Ocean.  The Maldives is also the smallest Asian country and the least populated with only around 557,000 residents. The main town is on King’s Island and is called Male by locals.  Male is the capital and the most populated part of the islands. Fishing of course has been the main source of income here for generations and continues to be vital to the economy but after the Maldives joined the British Commonwealth tourism has become a big deal there. Remote? Yes. Beautiful setting? Yes. Lovely resorts? Yes, there are a few including newly built ones. If I go, will I be safe you might ask and the answer is yes again.

Now for the two reasons I am bringing you this story. First of all, last week a Chinese rocket fell to earth not far from the islands creating quite a light show. Secondly, this is the spot that the Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s daughter and her husband chose for their honeymoon after getting married last week.  Now you can say you’ve been there too with the Original Buffalo Dale.

Hope you enjoyed the trip. Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…

The Drummond Family and Pawhuska Oklahoma History

Welcome back Over the past three weeks I have been writing about local history for the enjoyment of not only you  my loyal readers but also the new hires moving to town and the dozens of film crew employees who are here temporarily. These stories include Bill Hale who was otherwise known as the “king of the Osage Hills” back in the 1920s,and  a profile of the Mullendore family, the ranching empire they built and the tragic murder which remained the most famous unsolved mystery in the southwest for over four decades.

This week I’m bringing you another story about a family which now has many members but back in 1887 there was only one in Pawhuska and his name was Fred Drummond. This Scottish born boy emigrated to America at the age of 16 after his father died. With three thousand dollars from his mother he first went to Texas where he purchased a herd of cattle but a drought wiped out most of his herd and his money. Seeking a new opportunity Fred moved to Pawhuska when Oklahoma was still known as Indian territory and got a job as a store clerk. Many of his customers were Osage Indians and Fred learned their language earning their trust and loyalty. After several years of long hours and hard work he was able to buy the store which was called  the Osage Mercantile Company. A few years later he sold that store and bought out the Price Mercantile Company in Hominy, Oklahoma which was also very successful. Income from the store allowed him to invest in several banks and eventually Fred even became president of Farmers State Bank.  When Hominy was incorporated in 1908 he became the town’s first mayor in recognition of his importance in the community.

While he was still working in Pawhuska Fred had met Adeline Gentner who was from Coffeyville, Kansas and on July 6, 1890 the two were married. Over time Fred and Adeline had six children and for twenty-three years all the research I have done indicates that Fred was a happy man, enjoying his family, expanding his business interests and developing a reputation as an extremely honorable man “ with absolute integrity.”  The Osage tribe  went so far as to give him an Osage name and he was equally trusted by the white settlers moving to the area.

Fred insisted that his children receive a college education and instilled them with his code of honor, setting them on a path to success in their own right. As they married and established families the Drummond name grew and then grew again with the following generations. The history of Oklahoma would not be complete without mention of their accomplishments.

Today the Drummonds are recognized by the Land Report which ranked them as 17th of the 100 largest land owners in the country with several branches of the family operating ranches in Oklahoma and Kansas.

On another note from Leonardo Di Caprio eating pizza at Ree Drummond’s place to Martin Scorcese’s wife shopping at Lorec Ranch for custom western furniture and décor, my sources tell me the movie people are here in full force and already filming scenes in several locations. It has been reported that the cost of the project could be over two hundred million dollars before it wraps up.

I’ll bring you more next week and until then I’ll see ya down the road…